Being in a truck accident can be a traumatic and challenging experience.
As a victim in such an accident, you may have suffered injuries and losses that require substantial compensation. And unfortunately, successfully resolving your truck accident case and obtaining fair compensation often depends on dealing effectively with the at-fault party’s insurance company investigation.
Here is what you should know about how an at-fault party’s insurance investigation impacts your truck accident case.
Overview of the at-fault party’s insurance investigation
After any truck accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company launches an in-depth investigation to gather information to defend against injury and damage claims and determine liability and compensation amounts. The key aspects of such an investigation usually includes:
- Identifying all involved parties: Investigators identify the truck driver, truck owner, trucking company, and any other drivers involved. Background checks establish driving and safety records.
- Gathering documentation and evidence: Insurers collect the official crash report, medical injury records, vehicle repair estimates, eyewitness statements, photo/video evidence, and any factor related to causing the accident.
- Determining negligence and liability: Investigators assess if the truck driver, other involved parties, road conditions, weather, vehicle malfunctions, or other causes contributed to the accident. They assign relative fault percentages to strengthen defenses against injury claims.
- Contesting damages: Insurers dispute the claimed losses, injuries, missed wages, disability levels, and lifetime care costs claimed by accident victims through expert assessments.
- Resolving the claim: Based on investigation findings, the insurance company accepts or denies injury claims. For accepted claims, they utilize evidence found to make very low settlement offers, requiring victims to either accept less compensation than entitled or pursue lengthy litigation.
The below table summarizes aspects of a typical truck accident insurance investigation:
|Identifying parties involved
The at-fault party’s insurer devotes substantial resources to collect evidence and establish defenses against your injury claim. Experienced claims professionals assist internal injury investigators who may spend months gathering facts to limit potential settlements.
How the investigation negatively impacts truck accident victims
While accident investigations aim to uncover factual evidence, the at-fault insurer’s version skews information to benefit their interests over yours. If not addressed promptly, typical investigation practices significantly undermine your rights to fair compensation by:
Delaying case settlement
Thorough truck accident investigations often drag on for 6-12 months which delays out-of-court legal settlements. Meanwhile, the insurance company utilizes this extended timeframe to strengthen its liability defenses and find evidence allowing it to minimize the settlement amount.
The longer the case is delayed, the more difficult it becomes for your attorney to access strong evidence and witness testimony supporting your claim due to faded memories, lost records, and witnesses relocating.
Enabling reduced settlement offers
Insurers exploit investigation findings to:
- Dispute the severity of your tractor-trailer accident injuries
- Contest your evidence attributing liability to their driver
- Refute the full current and future value of your losses
This allows them to make unreasonably low settlement offers. You then face the choice of accepting an inadequate settlement or pursuing lengthy and expensive litigation to recover your full losses.
Increased chances of your recorded admission of liability
Insurance adjusters are adept at manipulating unprepared accident victims into providing recorded statements accepting partial or full liability. Often victims do not realize the legal consequences of their responses.
These recorded admissions severely weaken your claim and almost guarantee reduced compensation. Never provide recorded statements to another driver’s insurer without an attorney present.
Higher probability of unfair claim denial
In severe truck crashes, lengthy investigations give insurers time to develop overwhelming evidence and defenses. Even with serious injuries and losses, they may outright deny your claim by asserting events did not occur as claimed.
Without legal experts advocating for victims’ rights early, confused claimants rarely fully understand investigation developments and miss steps leading to wrongful denial of rightful compensation.
Protecting your rights during insurance investigations that disadvantage victims
While the at-fault party’s insurance company does not prioritize protecting your best interests post-accident, some proactive steps can help defend your rights:
1. Report truck crashes immediately
Inform the police and your insurer about the truck accident as soon as possible even if damages seem minor at first. Delayed accident reports create credibility issues later around unreported injuries and vehicle damage.
2. Get prompt medical treatment
Consult an emergency department physician and follow up with your family doctor even if you feel fine initially. Some truck accident injuries worsen over hours or days without proper treatment. Insurers exploit gaps in medical care to minimize injury claims.
3. Document the accident scene
Take ample photos capturing critical accident details like vehicle positions, road defects, weather conditions, sightlines, and any factors that may have caused the crash. Evidence proving negligence and liability often disappears quickly after crashes.
4. Maintain thorough records
Carefully save all truck accident-related documents like medical invoices, auto repair estimates, ambulance receipts, medication lists, paystubs for lost wage claims, etc. Insurers refuse to pay compensation without sufficient documentation.
5. Retain an experienced truck accident attorney
All victims of catastrophic accidents require skilled injury attorneys by their side. This is because qualified legal experts level the playing field against insurer power, preventing investigation abuses and case delays while protecting your rights. They often effectively use litigation tools to force fair claim resolutions.
The table below summarizes how competent truck accident lawyers defend client rights:
|How an Attorney Helps
Skilled truck accident lawyers relentlessly confront insurance company claim suppression tactics by marshaling the evidence, medical facts, witnesses, and legal arguments upholding victims’ rights to maximize case results. And with qualified legal experts fully involved early, injury victims can concentrate on recovering physically and emotionally from the trauma while trusting attorneys battle insurers to aggressively pursue fair financial recoveries on their behalf.
Legal teams with trucking litigation experience assemble evidence proving liability and damages owed, retaining economics and medical experts documenting clients’ injuries, treatment needs, and income disruption from missing work. Attorneys use aggressive discovery processes forcing insurers to reveal policies, investigation materials, and asset levels supporting justified claim values.
And where insurers refuse reasonable settlements, skilled litigators pursue jury trials and use mediation processes to argue cases before judges tasked with rendering fair decisions. Attorneys also understand the commercial realities guiding insurer behaviors, leveraging litigation risks and costs to prompt higher settlements. And so finding a truck accident lawyer near you should be one of the first things you should do if:
- you don’t want the insurance company to take advantage of you, and
- want to maximize your compensation
Overall, promptly retaining qualified counsel levels the playing field against powerful insurance legal resources dedicated to denying claims and preserves truck accident victims’ rights to maximum compensation at a difficult time when recovering from physical trauma should be their main priority. Having knowledgeable professionals fighting this legal battle enables victims to focus energy on restoring their lives.
Resolving a truck accident injury claim fairly depends substantially on effectively countering the at-fault party’s insurer investigation tactics seeking to minimize financial liability regardless of long-lasting victim harm.
Recognizing common industry-wide investigation practices and securing experienced legal representation immediately after a crash protects claim rights. Qualified truck accident attorneys adeptly gather evidence and leverage litigation threats leveling the field against unethical insurers dedicated to maximizing corporate profits over protecting individuals from further life disruption following traumatic collisions. Taking prompt legal action proactively can spell the difference between receiving fair compensation or denied financial recovery.
Published by HOLR Magazine.